tonight on "nightline," cashing in. we go inside ebay, which is very much back in business and making serious money for its far flung entreprene entrepreneurs. but can the online auction site reinvent shopping once again. fired. rick sanchez, the much-mocked anchor finally snapped last week and was fired for his explosive attack on jon stewart. >> i think jon stewart's a big got. >> reporter: now he joins us for an abc exclusive. just what was he thinking? and, lol. with wacky clips like this -- and this --.
and this --. why silly online stunts are a "sign of the times." >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," october 8th, 2010. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. and we're going to begin tonight with online commerce. on a day when the latest jobs numbers paint a depressing picture of a struggling economy. but for some people, there's one avenue at least that still seems to intersect with easy street. and that's the auction website ebay. the site has moved far beyond its early incarnation as something of a sprawling online rummage sale and it's become a slick 8$8.7 billion market. outlook for sellers who built their own businesses, one mouse click at a time. john donvan has our report. >> all of this is listed as on
the ebay site right now, all for sale. we moved from 5,000 square foot space to now 12,000. >> reporter: and so it was that a one-time lawyer turned stay at home mother named linda lightman came to be running in pennsylvania a full-time consignment clothing operation. >> this is the photo room. i used to go outside, because when i started i didn't know how to use a digital camera. this is the shoe room. shoes are put away by designer or size. this is the shipping room. boxes come in and then they get inventoried. >> reporter: you used to do this yourself? >> i was a one-woman show. >> reporter: all of them used to be just you, probably in your living room or something. >> the entire house. by the time i was done. and when i started -- >> reporter: how long ago? >> ten years ago. so, i've grown up with >> hello, everybody. welcome to our 15th birthday party. how about that? how about that?
>> reporter: and on the day they celebrated 15 years in business in san jose, the real celebration was not for the suits but for all the lindas out there, all the mom and pop moguls who have made ebay what it really is today. >> hey, tony, how are you? >> how is it going? >> reporter: and ebay ceo, john donna low, he knows a lot of them personally. >> what's going on? >> reporter: and makes a point of getting to know the rest. >> what do you sell? >> ah, treasures. >> computer software. >> custom rhinestone apparel. >> reporter: when they are gathered together here, it strikes you that ebay, one of the greet pioneers of cyber commerce, as chummily has made its billions with the resurrection of something quite old in american life, so old it had all but faded from the american dream. >> second generation this is my daughter. >> oh, hey! >> she's grown up watching me and doing her own now. >> what do you sell? >> clothing. >> reporter: and that something
old is the family business. which, at one time, dominated the geography of american retail. family-owned pet stores and book shops and furniture sellers and roadside hamburger joints. you could make a decent living selling to your near neighbors. you, mom, and you, pop. then what happened? >> in the '80s and '90s, large retailers grew in scale and in essence pushed the little guy off main street. >> reporter: then ebay came along and gave the little guy one more chance. >> ebay was the first place where all of a sudden the little guy, whether they're in a rural location or urban location if they were creative, entrepren r entrepreneurial, you could start a business. >> reporter: if you still think of ebay as trading us via online auction, you are about a dozen years out of date. and way behind a startling statistic. >> our latest analysis shows that over 1 million people, roughly 1.4 million people make
their primary or secondary living on ebay. >> reporter: you're the solution to the unemployment problem? okay, mark that exaggeration. but it is a fact that logts of people out there have found the keys to economic survival and the satisfaction of being their own bosses by mastering the merchandising me cab ickes of ebay. >> we take pictures of the label, the front, the zipper. >> reporter: which brings us back to linda. for her, it started accidentally. >> my son said, wait, there's this thing called ebay. take photos and put them up. we did. we got $20, $50. >> reporter: and from that, she built a little empire called linda's stuff. she's on track to bring in $7 million in sales this year, which is more than double what she made in 2007. how many people do you employ here? >> 56. two years ago, we probably had 25. >> reporter: wow. you're the solution to the recession. overstating things again, but it
is a question of real possibilities. how much of this really is anybody could do it? >> i think anybody could do it. >> reporter: you do? >> i do. i think anyone can do it. it's a great way to make money. i think i do it better. i really do. because i work really hard. i was a lawyer before this. i am putting in more hours here than i ever did as an attorney. >> reporter: which is more satisfying -- i know the answer. >> this, hands down. i feel like this has enabled me to reinvent myself. >> reporter: or in rural maryland, to sell skis, this is chris chapman's ebay business, housed in a 35,000 square foot former tobacco warehouse. he used to work behind the counter in a ski shop. look at this place. how many sets of skis do you have here? >> about 7,000 pairs. >> reporter: and you have boots? >> boots. skis, snowboards. >> reporter: chapman's business, it's called snow sport deals, is about reselling used skis and boots. my bread and butter is used skis. demos, rentals. >> reporter: he brought in $1.3
million in sells last year alone. >> this is one of the skis for sale right now. ebay is such a good tool and allowed me to have access to all these people. >> reporter: chapman sells a lot of his skis through a competitor site, amazon.com and that's fairly common. a few years back, there was a growing sense that ebay wasn't so special anymore. >> ebay may have been the only alternative, there were lots of alternatives in the first part of the 2000s, and, so what we've been doing is, taking this core value and updating and enhancing the user experience so that it's contemporary and innovative. so, this is our iphone application. 11 million people have downloaded it. >> reporter: it seems to be working for ebay. $8.7 billion last year. and the company is now attracting big wigs like fashion designers. >> this is one of our ebay standard styles. it called the all in one gown. >> reporter: the point being,
she's not selling used clothing. this is straight out of the design pseudoowe. in fact, about 70% of the goomds now sold on ebay are brand new. >> even though the old idea of ebay is resell and kind of reticket and resell, here, you start with an original that you can only get on ebay. it's a great opportunity for anyone who has been in the business as long as i have. or a new designer who is trying to start a career on a shoe string. >> reporter: she's way past mom and pop. but still, that they could pack a party with wheel who started small, and some now are millionaires. >> big shoes here. >> reporter: ebay makes it about any retail business you choose. somebody who has never been anything butten employee might be hearing you say, you can start up a business on ebay. that has to seem scary. what do you say to somebody like that. >> find someone that's doing it. ebay sellers will help other
ebay sellers. that's one of the wonderful parts of the community. >> reporter: and who knows. maybe when ebay turns 20, you'll be at the party, too. ♪ and i will be there >> reporter: i'm john donvan for "nightline" in san jose, california. >> ebay, so many others have flowed from it. thanks to john donvan for that report. and when we come back, we're going to have an exclusive interview with the man cnn canned this week. rick sanchez talks about the divisive comments that got him fired.
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well, as you know, a lot of people are getting fired these days, but what happened to rick sanchez, the animated afternoon cnn host was about as swift, brutal as a firing can get. less than 24 hours of a die tribe on satellite radio, he went from a anchor job to no job at all. he's apologized, but not nm tonight hassan chez fully opened up about his dazzling career nose dive. ashleigh banfield has our "nightline" interview. >> reporter: he's brash. >> he is the cot tom picking president of the united states. >> reporter: he's bold. >> because enough is enough. >> reporter: he's boisterous. >> i swear, i'm going to do it, lou. >> reporter: he's rick sanchez. and until last week, he had his own show on cnn. some people loved him. and some loved to laugh at him.
>> rick sanchez delivers the news like a guy at a party who is doing a lot of coke and traps you in a corner and explains really intensely how an ant is the strongest animal on earth. >> reporter: and no one liked to laugh at him more than jon stewart, who made sanchez a regular punching bag on "the daily show." >> nine meters in english is -- >> in english? okay, well, that would be nine meters, governor. >> reporter: it seemed like harmless fun, but apparently not to rick sanchez, who lashed out at stewart last week. >> i think jon stewart's a big got. >> come on. >> very powerless people. i'm telling you that everybody who runs cnn is a lot like stewart. >> reporter: less than 24 hours later, he was fired. >> i was probably about that far away from maybe having a show that was in primetime, everything was pointing in that direction. and i screwed up.
>> reporter: sanchez apologized to stewart, and to the public. >> i blew it. i ruined a wonderful opportunity because i think i just had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. >> reporter: why? why a chip? >> you have to go back to whoi m am. the way i grew up. the way i have been raised. >> reporter: he grew up as a poor cuban immigrant in south florida, who he says was both a blessing and a curse. >> and i would work with my father as a little kid. and he took me once to boca, where all the rich people live, and we delivered this furniture and it was so heavy and we finally got inside and i said to the lady inside, and this is an immigrant story, can i have a glass of water? and she said no, you cannot have a glass of water. you have to drink outside in the hose. where the docks were drinking. >> reporter: he said his father used that incident to teach him that as an immigrant, he would struggle to gain respect.
>> that story sticks with me throughout my life. in a strange way, i was feeling like jon stewart wasn't respecting me the same way that lady wasn't. i was wrong. >> reporter: it's not the first time sanchez has been in trouble. in the '80s, the fbi investigated his links to a miami drug dealer. in the '90s, a high profile dui caused a death. >> i've had a couple of things in my life that i had to get through. >> reporter: they were big setbacks. >> of course they were. but you know what, i put my nose to the grindstone and i asked god to help me and he did. >> reporter: and sanchez survived. and went on the to deliver his own brand of journalism. the kind of television that jon stewart and others love to mock. >> i have a visual. starboard bow. going down. >> never mind, it's sanchez, circle around, let's go home! >> reporter: he's called your style of journalism demonstration journalism.
other people have called it show boating. is that the reason, perhaps, that he was targeting you? >> well, there's none more famous than my being tased. do it. i would do that story again. and again. and again. it was an important story. >> reporter: you never thought you would be the target of jokes for it? >> no, i didn't, actually. i didn't. and since then i've read that npr reporters have been tased, "new york times" reporters have been tased. and nobody's made fun of them. so why did they make fun of me. >> reporter: you've taken responsibility for your words, but do you take responsibility for your style as being the reason you're a target? as opposed to your ethnicity. >> that's a good question. was i more of a target simply because of the way that i did the news. more so than my ethnicity. i think both are factors.
>> reporter: do you think chn was justified in firing you? >> cnn did nothing wrong. i did this wrong. >> reporter: you think they were right, then, to fire you? >> oh, no, no, no, this is not about cnn. >> reporter: you're not answering. >> i'm not going to you. you're asking me to answer a question about cnn. >> reporter: if you were your boss, would you have fired you? >> if i was my boss, could i have fired me? i would certainly have considered it. >> reporter: and consider it they did. so, far now, cable news have to do without rick sanchez. for "nightline," i'm ashleigh banfield in new york. >> well, good luck, rick sanchez, hope it ends well. ashleigh banfield, thanks for that report. up next, it's some of the cookiest footage to find its way out of the internet. and an incredible portion of it can be attributed to one web wizard.
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grow small businesses, really. excellent schools everywhere. protect the bay, finally. it's why i'm running -- to make the state we love not just good, but great. now let's get down to work. woman 1 sync: i knew what bob ehrlich did as governor. man 1 sync: raised my property taxes 60 percent. woman 2 sync: let utilities hike our rates 72 percent. woman 1 sync: but i didn't know what he's done since he got fired as governor. man 2: ehrlich's raked in millions. man 3: he worked for a wall street bank that took 10 billion dollars from the bailout. woman 3: 10 billion of our money. woman 4: our money. woman 5 sync: and he worked for another bank that collapsed. man 4: costing tax payers 17 million. anncr: tell bob ehrlich big banks don't need help. middle class marylanders do.
>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with terry moran. >> the blooper reel occupies an old and hallowed place in popular entertainment and the advent of the internet has just refed up public appreciate of trips and slips. one internet innovator has built a comedy empire with 16 million visitors a month, and for neal karlinsky, that is a "sign of the times." >> reporter: entertainment is very much in the eye of the beholder.
for some reason, watching a happy grape stomping woman take an epic fall, or some guy accidentally shoot himself with an exploding coke bot is kind of hilarious to millions of us. but where you may see ridiculous, 32 year ben seeps dollar signs. he's made a career riding that fine line between what's hilarious and what's a total waste of time, that just happens to be floating around the internet. so, here's a picture of banana republic's catalog -- >> reporter: we can't see show that. >> you might want to move that further away. that's a bad headline. you can't show that one. >> wedding speech fail. what is she doing? >> she is about to -- >> reporter: there is always
good throwups. ben has turned vomit videos and homemade three stooges like pratt falls into a thriving business that's been profitable forev from day one. >> do you always wear this hat? >> every day. i sleep with it on. >> reporter: and put him on the map as a leading technology entree neuro. from an office in downtown seattle, he's created a networkle of nonsensical websites devoted to the absurd. webassignments which feed that great desire to waste time on the internet, staring as pictures like these. virginia, eat the kids first. or the sign with the unfortunately placed condom ad. these are known as the cheez burger website, centered around i can has cheez burger. it's devoted to ridiculous pictures of cats and skwirry reader-submitted kamgss to go
with them. >> fail blog is the biggest. i can has is great. >> reporter: your definition of great is a general -- >> it's a very elastic definition. it really depends on the category. what i try to do is find greatness in every day life. things that aren't extraordinary. >> reporter: he is the classic dot com success story. a simple idea, tirelessly executed. but how many ceos of a seven-figure a year business sit shoulder to shoulder with employees at incredibly cheap foldout tables used for workstations? and marked by flimsy stickers? they haul in 16 million visitors a month. users who submit up to 19,000 ridiculous photos and i have yoeps a day. everything ranging from chinese traffic camera footage of people being hit by cars at a slow enough speed to be funny rather than tragic. to a cat who likes the jonas
brothers but hisses as pictures of justin bieber. part of the addiction users seem to have is a language all their own, which ben's partner in business and marriage described for us. lol-speak. a language. >> right. language that we actually think are cats and docks speak. so, instead of safes cats we say kitties, instead of dogs, it's goggies. it's the whole language. k thanks bye means no -- >> reporter: that means no sense at all. >> meh -- cats are that meh look, i'm unhappy. >> reporter: if it doesn't make sense to up, it doesn't have to. the webassignments are big enough to sustain merchandise, greeting cards and books filled with absurd pictures and borderline gibberish.
>> there's numerous studies that indicate that brief mental break from your job increasing productivity. >> reporter: so what is your brief mental break? you're looking at this ridiculous stuff, two-legged fwoets all day. >> that doesn't happen every day. >> reporter: ben is laughing all the way to the bank. and he sees no end in sight. at some point you'll grow up and does that mean the content will evolve -- >> what do you need to grow up? you don't need to grow up. i mean, if i can make a profitable company out of not growing up, there's no need to grow up. i think the only reason people grow up is they realize they want to make money. >> reporter: for ben, being immature isn't just a state of mind, it's a business model. i'm neal karlinsky for "nightline" in seattle. >> laughing all the way to the bank there. thanks to neal for that report. when we come back, whose recovery is this?